The death of Egypt’s free press

For years, the newspaper al-Dostour has been one of the few independent voices in the Egyptian press. No longer: Its editor in chief, Ibrahim Eissa, was fired today for refusing to toe the government line. The immediate reason for Eissa’s firing appears to be his plan to publish an article written by opposition leader and ...

KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images

For years, the newspaper al-Dostour has been one of the few independent voices in the Egyptian press. No longer: Its editor in chief, Ibrahim Eissa, was fired today for refusing to toe the government line.

The immediate reason for Eissa's firing appears to be his plan to publish an article written by opposition leader and would-be presidential candidate Mohamed ElBaradei commemorating Egypt's 1973 war with Israel. But in an exclusive interview with Foreign Policy, Eissa said that his dismissal had been planned since the paper was purchased by Sayyid Badawi, a businessman and head of Egypt's Wafd Party, a liberal party that has nonetheless been co-opted by the regime. Eissa referred to Badawi as a member of Egypt's "soft opposition" -- someone publicly pushing for reforms, but who isn't willing to challenge the regime in any serious way.

For years, the newspaper al-Dostour has been one of the few independent voices in the Egyptian press. No longer: Its editor in chief, Ibrahim Eissa, was fired today for refusing to toe the government line.

The immediate reason for Eissa’s firing appears to be his plan to publish an article written by opposition leader and would-be presidential candidate Mohamed ElBaradei commemorating Egypt’s 1973 war with Israel. But in an exclusive interview with Foreign Policy, Eissa said that his dismissal had been planned since the paper was purchased by Sayyid Badawi, a businessman and head of Egypt’s Wafd Party, a liberal party that has nonetheless been co-opted by the regime. Eissa referred to Badawi as a member of Egypt’s “soft opposition” — someone publicly pushing for reforms, but who isn’t willing to challenge the regime in any serious way.

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